Pixel 7 update brings promised Clear Calling and free VPN

Other updates include better Pixel Watch sleep tracking and voice transcription for multiple speakers.


Google is releasing its latest round of Pixel updates today, including the free VPN the company teased at its October event. Clear Calling also launches to the public alongside updates for its voice memo app and new sleep features for the Pixel Watch.

Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro users can now use the Google One VPN on their phones for free (rather than buying it bundled with a $10-per-month storage plan). Although Google’s VPN doesn’t support regional location switching, it secures your browsing activity on the web and in apps.

Clear Calling, Google’s voice isolation for calls which had been in beta since October, is now available for all Pixel 7 series owners. The AI-powered feature makes calls in noisy environments sound better by bringing your voice to the forefront while drowning out background noise. Recorder, Google’s AI-based voice memo app, now transcribes and organizes recordings for multiple people. It labels each speaker’s text, separating their transcriptions with line breaks — handy for meetings or interviews. That feature is also exclusive to the Pixel 7 series.

Screenshot of Recorder app on Pixel phones, which separates transcriptions of different speakers.

Google says spatial audio will arrive in January for Pixel Buds Pro paired with a Pixel phone. Like the iPhone/AirPods feature of the same name, it provides a head-tracked surround-sound effect for movies and shows. However, Google’s version doesn’t yet support music or a fixed-position surround effect.

Pixel owners will also see a new security and privacy hub. The app shows risk levels and settings for protecting your data, and it will alert you to any concerns it detects while recommending fixes.

Screenshot of a new Security & Privacy hub on Pixel phones

New sleep features are available for Pixel Watch owners. Fitbit Sleep Profiles analyze your slumber with insights like “time before sound sleep” and “nights with long awakenings.” It also assigns you a monthly Sleep Animal, a critter whose sleep patterns mirror yours. Anyone who already tracked their sleep for at least two weeks this past November will see their animal today, while everyone else will have to wait until January.

The Pixel Watch also receives new Wear Tiles (Wear OS widgets) for Weather and Contacts. Additionally, Google says the smartwatch will receive a Fall Detection feature in 2023. Like the Apple Watch feature of the same name, it contacts emergency services if you fall and don’t respond.